Today on the site we have a special treat: An interview with Bill Griffith by Gary Panter; topics include: love, footwear, and scariness. Goodness ensues. If you stop and think about Griffith’s influence on Panter’s work, a bunch of things about the way the latter artist deals with dialogue and observation snap into place.
Elsewhere on the wild internet:
-Bryan Lee O’Malley has a thoughtful and empathetic post up in response to the perennial “how do I break into the biz” question. One interesting thing about for me is that how it’s such a different narrative than that of cartoonists a generation older, i.e. the Web, manga, etc.
-Our own Frank Santoro is posting some very nice drawings of his home environment.
-You had me at “George Cruikshank had a nephew, Percy Cruikshank, son of Robert Cruikshank, who signed himself ‘George Cruikshank Junior.'”
-Cartoonist and TCJ-contributor Jim Rugg has a nifty looking artshow opening in a week.
-I’m also an easy mark for all things Mort Walker. Here’s a scan of an early profile of the cartoonist. Should you ever wonder what to get me for my birthday, always think “Mort”.
-And finally, in the ongoing “How’d that Corto Maltese book get so fucked up?” saga, let me trace a few threads for you:
1) The fine people at Big Planet Comics explain, with visual aids, what they saw as wrong with the book as published by Rizzoli (and apparently in a few countries). I agree!
2) Then the designer of the book, Chris McDonnell, in a post that defended his own design and typography but not the actual book production, notes “I asked for the original format pages and better quality line art files but the files that we ultimately used were the only option for files provided by the licensor or the estate (I don’t know who) for this project.” Well, that explains something. The files as-supplied weren’t very good. Why? Well, Rizzoli released a statement :
Corto Maltese: The Ballad of the Salt Sea was originally printed in the Italian comics magazine Sgt. Kirk, in 1967, and later in the French magazine Pif gadget in the early 1970s. Hugo Pratt collected the strips, had them colored, and published them in an oversized volume in 1978. In 1985, the colors were revamped in collaboration with Patrizia Zanotti. In 1994, Hugo Pratt reworked the size of the strip to three rows of panels per page. This new, smaller, more manageable graphic novel format was done to appeal to new Corto fans in the Italian market.
Universe/Rizzoli took the changes that Pratt himself made in the 1994 edition and reprinted this reworked format. We made no changes to Hugo Pratt’s 1994 version.
There have been other English editions of Corto Maltese: The Ballad of the Salt Sea, but the Pratt estate wanted a fresh translation from Pratt’s original Italian text. Harvill Press published an edition of Ballad of the Salt Sea in the oversized format and in the original black and white. The translation for that edition was made from a French translation of the original Italian text. The NBM edition of Ballad of the Salt Sea also contained a translation twice removed from the original Italian.
We worked directly with Patrizia Zanotti and the Hugo Pratt estate on this project, they were fully involved, and we had their support and approval during every step of the process: from the much-improved direct translation from the original Italian; to using art that came from the Hugo Pratt estate via their European publisher; to reviewing multiple rounds of color proofs.
So what’s the lesson here? Dunno. Estates don’t always know best? Usually the original way something is drawn is best? Don’t go to press with lo-res files even if someone says it’s OK? The point is that it’s a badly done book, which is a shame. Not much more to be done, as the estate clearly doesn’t know or care about proper digital production. So, it is what it is, maaaan.